Mesothelioma has claimed the life of renowned HIV researcher and sexual health consultant Dr. Mags Portman at the age of 44. Portman, a London resident who has worked in NHS hospitals for over twenty years, has been credited with breakthroughs in the prevention of HIV through her pioneering work on the HIV PrEP program. It is believed that her mesothelioma was result of her many years of working in asbestos-contaminated hospital and research buildings throughout London and the UK.
United Kingdom Hospitals Contaminated with Asbestos
Dr. Portman was first diagnosed with mesothelioma in January of 2017. She spent two years in treatment, but died last week in a hospice in Leeds. She had worked at the Mortimer Market Centre in London after having spent more than two decades working at Law Hospital in south Lanarkshire, Scotland. Upon learning of her diagnosis and its likely cause, she was quoted as having said, ‘There is a cruel irony thinking that asbestos is still present in hospitals when people go there to be made better and they may well be exposed to something which they’re not aware of.” Even as a physician, she had acknowledged her own lack of familiarity with asbestos or the hazard that she’d unknowingly faced while working towards the betterment of others. A recent Freedom of Information request submitted in the United Kingdom determined that nine out of ten NHS hospital buildings are contaminated with asbestos. As a result, a growing number of people have filed claims against the health service, holding them responsible for a wide range of asbestos-related diseases, and Jo Stevens, the chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Occupational Health and Safety, has instigated an investigation to determine exactly how big a health hazard the asbestos contamination of hospital buildings represents.
High Risk of Asbestos Exposure Throughout the UK
Mesothelioma occurs when asbestos fibers are inhaled or ingested, and this generally happens when the toxic material is disturbed. An alarming number of buildings in the United Kingdom were constructed using asbestos up until 1999, when the material was banned. Though authorities claim that the material is safe as long as it is not disturbed, a growing number of people who have worked in the UK’s hospitals, like Dr. Portman, have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases, and a similar problem exists in the nation’s school buildings, which have been referred to by the National Education Union as a ‘ticking time bomb,’ with a study showing that up to 86 percent of the nation’s schools are contaminated with asbestos and over 350 teachers in the UK having died from mesothelioma in the last 20 years.
Asbestos and mesothelioma are a global problem, and if you have been exposed to asbestos then you need support and answers. The Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net are here to help. Contact us today at 1-800-692-8608 to learn about the services we provide.